A BRIEF HISTORY OF OUR FAMILY
[Much of the material utilized in the overviews of this narrative is from the Funk & Wagnall’s standard reference encyclopedia books]. There are several explanations for the origin of the Dutch surname Van Sant and it variants, van sandt, Van Zandt, van zant, van de sant. Firstly, the name is of toponymic origin, that is, derived from the place where the initial bearer once lived or held land. In this case, the name indicates "one who came from Zandt", the name of several places in Germany and Holland. Research also suggests that the name is of patronymic origin, derived from the first name of the initial bearer. In this instance, the name indicates "son of Zandt". The earliest record of this surname or a variant dates back to 1179 when one chuonrat zant was recorded in Gurk.
Another interesting theory of Van Zandt origins is that about the time of Homer and the Trojan wars (between 1200 and 850 bc in ancient Greece), a tribe of natives lived on the shores of the small river van in Asia Minor, whereas they were called the Vans.
During one of the early periods of migration, these people crossed into Europe north of Greece. Raids were made down into Greece but they did not remain. They then continued north of the Alps, finally ending in Belgium, Holland, and Alsace Lorraine.
Some of the vans settled the spot known to history as the fortress of Vannes. When Caesar tried to conquer those lands and the Gauls, he failed to reduce the Vannes fortress and was compelled to grant them roman citizenship in return for them guarding his northern gateways.
Others of the vannes settled on the lowlands and shores, whence came the name Van Zandt, meaning the vans of the sands.
In America, the beginning of the 1600's found many European countries attempting to establish colonies and/or trading posts in the new world - England, France, Spain, Portugal, Holland, Sweden, Italy, etc. The Dutch East India Company secured the services of the English explorer, Henric Hudson for extensive exploration in 1609. They established the Dutch colony of new Amsterdam on Manhattan Island, ny with initially Peter Minuit, as director general and shortly thereafter, Peter Stuyvesant as his successor. The colony grew to approximately 800 inhabitants.
According to the author, Washington Irving, in his "History of New York", a jacobus VanZandt was one of the men who participated in that famous swindle of the indians in the purchase of Manhattan island for goods valued at $26 . This jabobus VanZandt is supposed to have come to this country in 1613 on the "goode vrow" or "good wife", some 3 or 4 years after the return of hendric hudson. Jacobus VanZandt's tenure at New Amsterdam is not recorded after his initial sojourn in the early 1600's. It also appears that some VanZandt's were in Brazil around this time, with the Dutch Trading Company.
In 1664, England claimed as British territory a large American area in the northeast that included Manhattan Island. British warships seized New Amsterdam in the same year. The Dutch retook the area in 1673, but a year later they ceded it to England. The Dutch colony became subject to England and its ruling crown.
William Penn, in 1682, obtained a grant of territory from the British crown - now mostly Pennsylvania. He opened it up for immigration with religious puritan principles as a foundation. The movement west from the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam to the area of Pennsylvania was open. It is here that the below described bucks county line of VanZandt's meet up with our place in history from our initial ancestor, garrett stoeffelse VanZandt.
THE VAN ZANDT'S IN AMERICA:
As far as genealogical records indicate, the initial VanZandt's (our ancestors) appeared in New Amsterdam in the middle 1600's. There are three VanZandt lines (over the years the spelling of the name has been in many different forms: VanZandt, vansandt, vanzant, vansant, van de Zandt, vinsant, vincent, etc).
From a military service standpoint, the VanZandt line has appeared and served in probably all military actions before and after the united states independence of 1776: defending the Dutch colony of New Amsterdam against the British; the French & Indian war; the American Revolution; the War of 1812; the Civil War; the Spanish-American War; and World War I & II.
Also, in researching our particular genealogical line, we find many highly respected family names that were spouses of the VanZandt family: Van de Grift, Van Horn, Guyon, Thompson, Crawford, Northcott, Bowen, Farnsworth, Morton, Barton, Johnson, Lee, etc - a real cross section of Americana.
THE THREE LINES:
- GARRETT STOEFFELSE VANZANDT LINE [BUCKS COUNTY LINE]
Although long thought to be the progenitor of the Van Sant family, gerret stofffelszen was actually the son of the true progenitor, stoffel (christoffel) harmenszen. Gerret did arrive in New Netherland about 1651, as he took the oath of allegiance in New Utrecht (Brooklyn) in 1687, stating that he had been in the country 36 years. He first used the surname Van Sant (vansand) when he purchased land in Bucks co., pa in 1698/9.
Recently, a document has come to light from the notarial archives of Amsterdam: " 1652 April 16. Abraham de wijs. Merchant in Amsterdam, in the name of Cornelis de Potter, his brother -in-law, who lives in the Manhattans in New Netherland. He takes into service for him: Christoffel Harmens and Trijinje Claes to work there for de potter. Also their son Gerrit Christoffels, 8 years old, shall work with them. This is for a time period of three years, at 200 Carolus guilders per year. Free board and room."
Tragedy struck three years after the family's arrival in New Netherland,: " whereas Tryntie Clasen, widow of Stoffel Harmensen, cloth worker, perished in the attack of the indians in 1655, now intends to marry rut Joosten van Brunt, bachelor, whereas said Stoffel Harmensen has left with Trynitie Clasen a minor son, by his first wife about 12 years old, and whereas the testament of said Stoffel, made before notary Judicq van de Vin and witnesses at Amsterdam July 10, 1649, and shown to the orphanmasters of this city, shows the said boy should have one half of his deceased father's estate."
Further research revealed two marriages of Stoffel/Christoffell Harmenszen - on 13 June 1643 a marriage intention was recorded in Amsterdam for: "Christoffel Harmenss, from Jever, journeyman clothdresser living on the Hoochstraet, having no parents (living) age 25, and Moederke Gerrits, from Amsterdam, living on the Breestraet, attended by her mother, Vroutie Pieters."
Both signed by mark and were married in Amsterdam’s old church 28 June 1643. No baptismal record has been found for their son, Gerrit Stoffelszen. Based on the records noted above, he was born 1644. The register of St. Anthonis cemetery, Amsterdam shows the burial on 17 July 1644 of Moedertien Gers, leaving one child. The child was named in honor of her father. On 9 September 1645, the widower registered his intention to marry again. He and Trijntje Claes were married in the old church, Amsterdam 24 September 1645. Thus, in 1652, as mentioned above, shows that Stoffel Harmenszen, Tryntje Claes and Gerret Stoffelszen came to New Netherland in the employ of Cornelis de Potter.
All records have indicated that garret stoffelse Van Sant as the progenitor of the Van Sant family- ie. The first generation of Van Sant's in America [1 or I] and this theme continued to be carried through for all succeeding generations of our Van Sant, van sandt, Van Zandt, van zant, vinsant, vinzant etc ancestry.
Garrett Stoeffelse was born in the Netherlands. He came to New Amsterdam in 1651 and owned land at yellow hook, "under the jurisdiction of the town of New Utretch." Garrett married Elizabeth Gerritise in 1668 and had eleven children. In the 1690's, he and several of his sons began purchasing large amounts of land in Bucks co. Pa. Since Garrett and his entire family moved to Bucks County, PA about 1695, this group became known as the Bucks county line.
- ADAM WENSEL VANZANDT LINE - NEW YORK/NEW JERSEY LINE
The Adam Wensel VanZandt line descends from Adam Wensel VanZandt who set out from Holland in 1658. He died, either aboard ship or shortly after arrival to this country and his family descends through the only son of whom we have a record, Johannes.
- JOSEPH JANSE VANZANT LINE - ALBANY LINE
The "Albany line" as the Joseph Janse vanzant line is referred to, was began by Joseph Janse and his wife Seitje Marcelis van Bommell, who were married in 1688. Having lived in Albany about 30 years, Joseph came to court in 1715 to become a naturalized citizen. Asked for his surname, he responded that he never used one, but was of the Satander family. From that time he is called vansant or van Santen. The next generation changed it to VanZandt or vanzant. Joseph and Seitje had ten children; many of the descendants are in the Albany area and like the rest of our family (cousins), are also spread out nationwide.
It is interesting to note that in investigating these records, the history of our ancestry, that so many of our ancestors (cousins) have done more than their share in the making of this country.
We, VanZandt's (or s) are fortunate that in 1975, the VanZandt society was formed and began compiling genealogical records from day 1. Also, "the Van Zandt record" is published three times a year and sent to those members that keep current with their dues in the society. The last few years, a computer with genealogical crosscheck capabilities has been utilized to input VanZandt ancestry names. At the latest count, approximately 15,000 names are imputed with several thousand to go-new ones coming in almost daily. This is a real legacy for the generations to come.